Israel's David's Sling missile system to be operational in weeks

By Ryan Maass   |   March 21, 2017 at 1:28 PM

March 21 (UPI) -- David's Sling, Israel's developing mid-tier missile defense system, is set to become operational within weeks, according to local media reports.

Once operational, the system will be used to supplement Israel's existing Iron Dome and Arrow missile defense systems. The new platform specializes in intercepting tactical ballistic missiles, medium to long-range rockets, and cruise missiles.

The Iron Dome was built to engage short-range rockets, and the Arrow was designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside Earth's atmosphere. Israeli defense officials say the addition of David's Sling fills critical gaps for the country's defenses.

"One of the threats against us is heavy rockets, not Katyushas or Grads, which can travel 25 miles, but things that can travel several hundred kilometers," Israeli missile engineer Uzi Rubin told Times of Israel. "There are also things like air-to-ground weapons, which act like missiles -- the David's Sling needs to intercept those too."

Operational capability for David's Sling comes as tensions mount between Israel and its neighbor states, including Syria. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Arrow system was used to intercept a ballistic missile fired toward Israel by the Syrian army.

On Friday, Israeli pilots conducted a series of airstrikes against Syrian targets, and rejected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's claims his regime managed to take down one of their aircraft.

Senior Israeli defense officials are confident the addition of a new system will make the country safer than ever from missile and rocket attacks.

David's Sling is a joint project between Israel Aerospace Industries and U.S. manufacturer Raytheon.

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